Reflecting and Celebrating
Before launching full speed ahead into the new year, I hope you take time to acknowledge and celebrate what has made 2019 significant, rewarding and fun. Highlights for me include an amazing two week vacation in New Zealand, running my 15th and 16th marathons, adopting Ann the cat from the Animal Humane Society (yes, she came with the name “Ann”), completing my first triathlon, and celebrating Ann Plans’ 12th anniversary.
The Ann Plans team has experienced so many highlights throughout the year in our work with our nonprofit partners. This newsletter is dedicated to sharing some of our clients’ major accomplishments in 2019.
Celebrating 2019 Nonprofit Highlights
The organizations we are blessed to partner with are having great impact every day for individuals, families, and the community. We hope you enjoy reading about what some of our clients have been up to in 2019:
- CommonBond Communities is committed to building stable homes, strong futures and vibrant communities. An expert in affordable housing, the organization has had a record-breaking year in producing 925 additional housing units through renovation and new construction. CommonBond is proud to provide these homes for individuals and families, that combined with the organization’s Advantage Services, help residents achieve their goals and live their best lives.
- At The Nature Conservancy (TNC), 2019 was a great year for water and land conservation in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. A major highlight included making greater investments in protecting Minnesota’s most significant waters. With the help of partners and supporters, TNC is purchasing conservation easements and buying land outright, as well as restoring wetlands and other natural areas. While there’s plenty of work ahead, the team is confident they can help keep today’s clean waters clean and help improve the quality of all water across the area.
- This year’s Guthrie Gala, which raised over $1 million supporting the work of the theater, was the Guthrie’s most successful fundraising event ever. The video that was shown right before the direct giving moment raised awareness and significant funds supporting the Guthrie’s commitment to making the work of the theater accessible to people of all abilities. A leader in theater accessibility, the Guthrie shared the video at a national arts marketing conference later in the year where the overwhelmingly positive feedback included comments that this was one of the best videos ever produced on this topic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4pu3386Kik&t=2s
- In 2019, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute brought a Lokomat to their Golden Valley location made possible by the generosity of Courage Kenny donors! The Lokomat is a body weight supported treadmill and robotic walking technology used for gait training and strength building for clients with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and other neurological diseases and injuries. This year the new therapy technology has already logged 609 sessions and served 51 individuals.
- Volunteers of America MN and WI launched an innovative pilot program this year to help youth transitioning back into their community after receiving help at a residential treatment center for chemical dependency and mental health issues. In partnership with the Medica Foundation, this one-of-a-kind program provides teens with the support they need to return home in a healthy way.
- Every year Open Arms of Minnesota turns NOvember into YESvember for clients living with life-threatening illnesses. In addition to the daily client meal production that happens throughout the year, in November Open Arms staff and volunteers also prepare and deliver a full Thanksgiving meal to each client and their family. As part of this holiday program, staff and volunteers compete via a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, affectionately known as “Turkey Drive.” This campaign funds Thanksgiving meals which each cost $60.00, and supporters can choose to sponsor one meal or several. This year, the $60,000 goal was exceeded with $63,149 raised for the Turkey Drive, providing more than 1,000 holiday dinners.
- In September, Episcopal Homes celebrated 125 years of enriching life and building community with older adults in St. Paul. In 2020, the organization will launch NeighborCare, a new home care model designed to help older adults remain independent longer by making in-home support services more affordable and accessible.
- For more than six decades, the University of Minnesota has been recognized throughout the world as a leader and innovator in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. As of last week, the cardiovascular team at the University has successfully performed 981 heart transplant surgeries. Thank you to the University for continuing to save lives and advance bold new progress in heart health in 2019 and beyond.
- This year, Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota celebrated a landmark 100th anniversary. Ann Plans was proud to be part of the big celebration – Gala for Good – on October 25! The organization also created the first-ever Power of Work event in St. Cloud highlighting the participants and programs in the local community. These events helped launch Goodwill-Easter Seals into the next century of workforce development.
- NUWAY, one of the largest nonprofit providers of extended care addiction treatment in Minnesota, has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with performance standards. The Joint Commission is America’s largest healthcare accrediting body. Additionally, NUWAY added a second outpatient location in St. Paul and outpatient locations in Rochester and Duluth. In early 2020, a new residence serving women will open in Minneapolis.
- The Schulze Diabetes Institute at the University of Minnesota is a world leader in curing type 1 diabetes through islet cell transplantation. This past June, the 23rd annual Golf Classic “Fore” Diabetes Research surpassed $8 million dollars in contributions raised over the years to support the Institute’s important life-changing research.
- In addition to providing treatment and mental health support to those struggling with substance use addiction, Mn Adult & Teen Challenge also works to prevent teen substance use through the Know the Truth™ prevention program. This is important because 90% of adults struggling with addiction started using before their 18th birthday. This year, the Know the Truth team connected with 60,000 middle and high school students in Minnesota – one classroom at a time – to debunk myths and deglamorize substance use as shown on TV and through social media. A highlight was receiving over 1,687 student texts thanking Mn Adult & Teen Challenge for helping them see the truth about vaping, alcohol, and drugs — and letting the organization know the positive impact the staff has made in their commitment to remaining substance free until age 21.
- April was an exciting month when Chorus America recognized VocalEssence with the 2019 Education and Community Engagement Award for their youth choral program, VocalEssence Singers of This Age (VESOTA). This award is presented to the best emerging program that expands the role of its chorus in the community. The judges noted that, “VESOTA participants have gained confidence, found a sense of belonging, and realized the power of music to bring people together.” VESOTA was founded in 2017, and is an ensemble of 50 dynamic young people from Twin Cities high schools who sing, dance, rap and write their own music.
Thank you for being part of what has made this year rewarding and memorable.
Wishing you the warmest of holidays with time to reflect, recharge and celebrate!